The Bahai Gardens are definitely among the top attractions in Israel and a must see. Situated on the slopes of mount Carmel and facing down towards the gorgeous views of the Haifa seashore are beautifully designed gardens, a UNESCO heritage site, sacred to the Bahai religion followers. It’s absolutely breathtaking and definitely one of the wonders of Israel. It’s lucky for Haifa that the founder of the Bahai religion, only a bit more than a century ago, choose Akko and this spot as the holy grounds for the Bahai faith.
The official Bahai Gardens website introduces:
With over half a million visitors a year, the Bahá’í Gardens in Haifa and ‘Akko are among the most popular sites in the Middle East. Their unique design, combining geometrical shapes and exquisite detailing with loving conservation of natural and historic landscape features, leaves an indelible impression on visitors. Many return again and again to experience the changing seasons and relive the serene tranquility and uplifting spirit of these special places.
In July 2008, the Bahá’í Gardens in Haifa and ‘Akko were inscribed on UNESCO’s World Heritage List, in recognition of their “outstanding universal value” as holy places and places of pilgrimage for the followers of the Bahá’í Faith.
Like all great works of art, these extraordinary sites are tangible expressions of the human spirit. Here the impetus was not the creativity of a great artist, but rather the loving labor and sacrifice of many people from diverse origins and several generations, inspired by a common faith and an optimistic vision of our collective future.
There are two gardens, one in Haifa and one in Akko. This tour includes the Haifa gardens :
These gardens, located in the heart of Haifa, comprise a staircase of nineteen terraces extending all the way up the northern slope of Mount Carmel. The golden-domed Shrine of the Báb, the resting place of the Prophet-Herald of the Bahá’í Faith, stands on the central terrace, looking across the bay towards ‘Akko.
While different parts of the gardens offer a variety of experiences, they speak in a common language of graveled paths, hedges and flower beds groomed and nurtured by dedicated gardeners. The gardens frame panoramic views of the city, the Galilee Hills and the Mediterranean Sea.
We joined the English speaking tour, and this is what she dryly rushed through about the Bahais :
If you have the time, I strongly recommend reading up on the Bahai religion, a fascinating modern religion with as many as 6 million followers world wide who embrace most of the other well-known Monotheistic religions.
We entered from the Yefe Nof Balcony on the top and made our way down the stairs towards the sea…
The gardens themselves are very well taken care off, mostly by Bahai volunteers who come to attend the gardens from all over the world.
If you’re in Israel, don’t miss this.
If you’re in need of instructions on how to get there and opening hours:
The viewing balcony at the top of the gardens is at 61 Yefe Nof Street, near the hotels and shopping area of Carmel Center. From here you may enjoy a panoramic view of the golden-domed Shrine of The Báb and the terraces which stretch down the mountain side, as well as the bay and the Galilee Hills.
Visiting hours: 9:00 – 17:00 daily
The viewing balcony which overlooks the gardens is at 61 Yefe Nof Street, at the end of the Louis Promenade. The special entrance for the Panorama Tour is at 45 Yefe Nof Street, 120 meters west of the viewing balcony. A large public parking lot is located between Hanassi Avenue and Yefe Nof Street, and limited parking may also be available on Yefe Nof Street.
More on the Bahai Gardens in Haifa :
- CNN.com tour of Baha’i gardens in Haifa – interview with Rob Weinberg
- A Message of Unity: The Baha’i Gardens in Israel
- Haifa Trip (2) – Baha’i Gardens
- HAIFA’S BEAUTIFUL BAHA’I GARDENS AND AN UGLY, UGLY PRISON
- Baha’i Shrine and Gardens in Haifa
- Delayed Blogging: Gardens of the Baha’i